ByHeart, a company focused on the evolution of one of our most fundamental nutrition markets – infant & baby – announced the recent closing of $70 million in Series A funding led by Polaris Partners, D1 Capital Partners, and OCV Partners, in advance of its first infant formula product launch in 2021. Additional investors in the round include Red Sea Ventures, Sean Parker, and existing investors including Bellco Capital and affiliates of Two River.
Co-founded by Mia Funt and Ron Belldegrun in 2016, ByHeart grounds innovative products in next-to-nature quality, leading nutrition science, and production transparency, and strives for its baby foods and formulas to sit at the forefront of immune, cognitive, digestive and microbiome health.
“We founded ByHeart to unlock real choice for parents in a moment that can be overwhelming: formula and baby food products are not optional for most parents – they are crucial – which is why they must be accessible, uncompromised, holistic sources of nutrition. We want parents to feel engaged with what their baby eats and empowered as they create a foundation of health for their babies’ lives to follow,” explained Ron Belldegrun, CEO of ByHeart, and newly a father himself.
With ownership of manufacturing and research & development facilities, ByHeart seeks to maximize both quality and safety for its consumers, and is in a unique position to circumvent significant channel markups and invest those savings into what truly matters: hand-picked ingredients, small batch blending, evolved nutrition science, rigorous quality controls, and ultimately an elevated consumer experience. This experience will position community and education as paramount to transforming the baby nutrition category.
Mia Funt, ByHeart President and mother of two, said, “Feeding is one of the very first decisions we make as parents. It’s incredibly intimate and personal, and often defines how successful we feel in a completely new role. At ByHeart, we believe in feeding freedom, which means that every parent has access to the very best choices, whenever and wherever they need them.”
After three years of building and developing its products, team and facilities, as well as a network of nutrition, regulatory and parenting experts, the company is conducting a multi-site, infant-growth monitoring clinical study in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous requirements, to support ByHeart’s first product launch in 2021. The Series A investment evidences investors’ confidence in the company’s considered approach.
ByHeart welcomes representatives from two of the lead Series A investors onto its Board of Directors: Amy Schulman and Hemi Zucker. Ms. Schulman, Managing Partner at Polaris Partners, previously led Pfizer Baby Nutrition prior to its sale to Nestle, and helmed Pfizer Consumer Health’s business. Mr. Zucker is Managing Principal of OCV and a founding member of J2 Global, owner of the leading parenting and health sites What to Expect, Baby Center and Everyday Health. Mike Tully joins the board as an observer on behalf of D1 Capital Partners, a $10 billion global investment firm founded by Dan Sundheim whose private investments include Sweetgreen, Stripe and Instacart. These new Board members join biotechnology entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Bellco Capital, Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, as well as Josh Bradley, Chief Investment Officer of Bellco Capital, Joshua Kazam, Co-Founder and Partner of Two River Group, and Guy Oranim, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of First Media.
Ms. Schulman explained ByHeart’s distinction: “The impressive blend of pediatric professionals, nutrition scientists, proprietary blendmasters, and content media visionaries behind ByHeart position the company uniquely to invigorate the existing baby nutrition market and serve as a partner for all parents to embrace their babies’ health in more proactive ways.”